You may not have heard, but there’s this little movie called “Semi-Pro” that’s just hit theaters. It’s the inspiring ’70s tale of Jackie Moon - owner, player, and coach of the Flint Tropics - who oh so desperately wants to get his team into the NBA.
Well, we dribbled our way to the local cineplex to catch the latest masterpiece from the man that is the manifestation of comedy itself - Will Ferrell. Would his newest film bounce it way into our hearts?
Yeah, sure, why not.
“Semi-Pro” is very similar to Ferrell’s last sports-themed flick, “Talledega Nights” - humorous, yet not as absurd or as much slapstick as in his magnum opus, “Anchorman”. In fact, Jackie Moon goes through even less ridiculous misadventures than Ricky Bobby.
But there are the standard silly moments - players practicing dressed as flamingos & trees, radio announcers getting drunk, Jackie getting pummeled by a wrestling bear.
Yet, some of the gags are so predictable that the real humor isn’t in the actual joke, but anticipating the punchline. For example, the guys are playing with an “unloaded” handgun during a poker game. You know the gun’s going to go off at some point, but you keep laughing each time someone points it at their head or crotch, wondering if this is when it hits.
What’s really surprising in the film is that the main focus eventually moves from Moon to Woody Harrleson’s character Ed Monix - an older player and former Celtics benchwarmer looking for one last shot at b-ball glory.
Maura Tierney also shows up as Monix’s love interest. But her scenes really add nothing to the film, aside from taking away any humorous momentum.
And there’s the usual assortment of other kooky characters, which you can learn more about here.
As Mark Hermann of NEW YORK NEWSDAY points out, sports historians will appreciate how “Semi-Pro” stays pretty true to the original ABA. The teams and uniforms were quite accurate - including the short shorts. Players’ hairstyles were that stylin’.
And most compelling, the Tropics’ Ballgirls were inspired by the real-life bikini-clad babes who worked for the Miami Floridians club.
Don’t believe us? The website Remember The ABA has proof.
Overall, “Semi-Pro”is worth the price of admission.